Big Pony Wins Big

BY Azfar Hashim

In this fuel economy race, Ford's V8 Mustang had just beaten its manufacturer's claim

The UK’s premier eco-driving event has proven that even a performance car can be parsimonious, with a 5.0-litre V8-engined Ford Mustang taking the most coveted prize in this year’s event. The Mustang, driven by Andy Dawson and Andy Marriott, achieved an overall figure of 36.6 mpg (15.56 km/L) against a manufacturer’s combined figure of 20.9 mpg (8.89 km/L) on the 'MPG Marathon'; this is a 75.12% improvement. Also, it is the highest percentage improvement figure ever seen on the event, making it the winner in the 'Best % Improvement - Cars' category.

Meanwhile, the best overall MPG figure from a conventional internal combustion engine car was 88.87 mpg (37.78 km/L), achieved by John Kerswill and Ian McKean in a Mazda 2 1.6d Sports Nav; this figure was an improvement of 5.77 mpg (2.45 km/L) over the manufacturer’s claimed figure, hence allowing them the title 'Best Outright MPG - Cars' category.

The highest overall figure however was achieved by a pre-production Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, with 109.14 mpg (46.4 km/L) achieved over the 387 mile (623 km) route. At the UK’s average fuel cost of £5.20 a gallon (or SGD$8.86 for 3.78-litres), this equates to just £14.63 (SGD$24.92) worth of fuel to drive a route equivalent to the distance between London and Glasgow, by road.

In an event described by a number of competitors as ‘the toughest MPG Marathon yet’, drivers also had to work out the most economical route between a number of waypoints in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Northants and Gloucestershire in a two-day event starting and ending at the prestigious Heythrop Park, near Chipping Norton.

As well as the category winning cars, there were a number of quirky vehicles on the event including a fuel-cell powered Hyundai iX35 jointly entered by the University of Birmingham and Lex Autolease, a 750 cc Moto Guzzi motorcycle, which achieved 86.87 mpg (36.93 km/L), and an Australian-made V8-engined Vauxhall VXR Maloo Ute.

Event organiser, Jerry Ramsdale, said, “The achievement of the crew in the Ford Mustang was astonishing — our highest improvement ever in the history of the event — and it shows that even the most potent performance cars can be relatively economical if driven sensibly.”